Time for an old HK Action gem! Just a random one picked from a bundle, and as it turns out not a bad pick.
It's not Jackie Chan or Jet Li level, but the martial arts and stunts are really not bad. The actors put themselves in harm's way to bring things to the next level, and it seems like all that really sets the known titles apart from ones like this is a consistent; somewhat relatable plot.
I mean how normal is it for a couple of martial artist brothers to go to the big city, start living with a female cousin who also happens to train martial arts under her very martial artist father, and start working in a restaurant, and get involved in the drug trade when the cousin's friend has her arm broken at a disco because a girlfriend of a thug thinks she might be competition in a roller skating competition, and then when the sister steps in and helps her win they take one after the other hostage and kill them off, all the while the remaining family members seek vengeance? The police are nowhere to be seen, and the early movie backstory is obviously there mainly to make you feel for certain characters when they get killed.
It feels messy to say the least - like the poster above. But then again it's a tale from a foreign time and culture, so who am I to say if it's realistic or not? This might've been the way of life for a lot of people back then, even if it seems to me more like a bad story. I appreciate it for the element of old, the arts, the relations and the action - not so much for the script.
Still, the gap is slim between a movie like this and old Jackie Chan or Jet Li movies. The budget's similar. The story's not that out of the ordinary - it's the kind that'd only fare well within this genre, and maybe this one generation, but here it seems to thrive.
The main characters all know the arts. The action's gritty and full of fiery explosions and fights (though also a lot of running away from fights) that make it feel like sometimes they really could have been seriously hurt - which they most probably could, too. Of course I hope they didn't, but it's those risks that give movies from this era their sense of realism, no matter how bad the actors or script is otherwise... and this one wasn't that bad.
Another thing I really like with movies from this day and age is how full of energy all the characters are, making the modern actor often seem almost apathetic in comparison. All the bane of IT society am I right?
It's all of this with a little whiff of comedy and characters you grow to like. It's the HK action way, and I do like it. It's not perfect, but the fights were better than expected, and the actors aren't all a bunch of no-names either. Take Moon Lee and Sophia Crawford for example, or Eddie Maher, who plays the main villain here and whome you might have seen in quite a few other villainous HK move roles, not to forget Siu-Ho Chin and his brother (whose name I couldn't pinpoint on the IMDB page - information for titles like this is sparse to say the least). They're all real fighters.
Chia-Liang Liu's one fight was a real highlight too. He's probably the most known name in the movie, and you might recognize him from Legend of Drunken Master and a boatload of other titles. Watch that if naught else.
The cast was good. The action was good. The script was... not that important. It's a solid HK action movie either way.
Also: apparently some movie covers claim this title stars Jackie Chan. Most probably a marketing gimmick of old. It's not true.
rated 3/5: not bad